2015 FIRE Conference

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2015 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference

Future Independence through Resources & Education


The Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) welcomes you to

FIRE The theme of the 2015 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference  Future Independence through Resources & Education  encompasses the ways in which individuals, either working alone or together with family, friends, and community members, can minimize the challenges faced while working toward a more integrated and accessible Texas. Anyone can advocate for greater access and inclusion, though it’s often a challenge to start. The FIRE Conference will provide sessions that demonstrate a variety of ways to advocate and problem solve.

Other sessions will educate us about the rights of all Texans, and highlight access and inclusion needs and what is being done to make sure those needs are addressed. After the FIRE Conference, attendees can celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in downtown Austin, followed by visits to the State Capitol. At the Capitol, attendees may elect to speak with their legislators about issues that matter most. The Council and staff of the Texas SILC wish you a great time and hope you Spark your flame and pass the torch!


Table of Contents HOTEL MAP ......................................................................... 1 SILC COUNCIL AND STAFF .................................................... 2 LUNCHES AND RECEPTION .................................................. 4 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS ............................................................. 5 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE ..................................................... 6 SPEAKERS .......................................................................... 15 SPONSORS ......................................................................... 25 EXHIBITORS AND DONORS ................................................ 26 VOLUNTEERS ..................................................................... 27 SPONSORS ......................................................................... 29

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HOTEL MAP Conference sessions and exhibits will be held on the first floor of the Austin Marriott Hotel. Accessible bathrooms are in the conference area, restaurant area on the other side of the hotel lobby, and also on the second floor to the right and around the corner in the fitness area, where roll-in showers are provided for the general public as well. An ATM is located in the main lobby area. Austin Marriott Hotel First Floor FIRE Conference Area

Lone Star Ballroom

EXHIBITS

EXHIBITS EXHIBITS

Registration

Limestone Restaurant EXHIBITS Entrance/ Exit

Gift Shop

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Hotel Front Desk

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Main Entrance

Bar

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SILC COUNCIL AND STAFF

SILC Council Randell Resneder: Chairman – Lubbock Jim Brocato: Vice-Chair – Beaumont Richard Couder: Treasurer – El Paso Karen Swearingen: Secretary – Rowlett Paul S. Luther: Council Member – Georgetown Lynn R. Richardson: Council Member – Austin Jim Batchelor: Council Member – Cooper Shannon Alexander: Council Member – Bryan Calvin Turner: Council Member – Austin Martha Bagley: Ex-Officio – Austin Wesley Yeager: Ex-Officio – Austin Jonas Schwartz: Ex-Officio – Austin Terri Richard: Ex-Officio – Austin

In Loving Memory of John Hobgood, Texas SILC Council member

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SILC Staff Regina Blye: Executive Director Laurie Bell: Financial & Administrative Assistant Craig Davis: Executive Assistant Adriana Rojas: Financial Officer Sandra Breitengross-Bitter: Project Analyst—State Plan for Independent Living Christina Goebel: Project Specialist—Outreach & Education, FIRE Conference planner Kelle’ Martin: Project Specialist—Health & Fitness, Transportation Works Nour Hammoudeh: Project Assistant, FIRE Conference planner Carl Hyland: Web & Assistive Tech Specialist Angela Yan: Project Specialist—State Plan for Independent Living Tammy Ross: Project Specialist—Transportation Works Alexandra Neinast: Project Specialist—Transportation Works Cheri Chase: Project Specialist—Transportation Works Bryna Hoang: Project Assistant—Transportation Works

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LUNCHES AND RECEPTION Sunday Evening Reception

Monday SILC Awards Luncheon and Networking

6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

SUNDAY EVENING RECEPTION 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

MONDAY NETWORKING LUNCHEON

TUESDAY SILC AWARDS LUNCHEON

11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Join us Sunday evening for a reception and meet with other attendees, speakers, and FIRE Conference sponsors, such as Cigna-HealthSpring, this evening’s sponsor.

Every year, the Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) – opens public nominations for individuals or organizations that exemplify the Independent Living Philosophy. At the Awards Luncheon, we take time to thank the winners for their dedication to Independent Living. Thanks to our Luncheon sponsors, SignShares and Amerigroup!

Dress is semi-formal: short dresses for women and jackets and dress pants for men. Attendees can also visit the ADA25 Legacy Tour bus in front of the hotel. The bus is traveling nationwide from its Washington, D.C. home.

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The first 30 minutes of the luncheon will be dedicated to networking with speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors. 4

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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Veronda L. Durden DARS Update: an update on activities from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Veronda L. Durden was appointed as DARS Commissioner by Texas Health and Human Services’ Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek on July 1, 2013. For more than three decades, Durden has served in executive-level roles for the State of Texas, beginning her career at the Office of the Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She has also worked for the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Aging and Disability Services. Durden is a Certified Management Professional, a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program, and a certified mediator through The University of Texas School of Law.

Kelly Buckland Impact of Reauthorization on Independent Living & Funding Kelly Buckland is Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). Before moving to Washington to lead NCIL, Buckland was the Executive Director of the Idaho SILC and, previously, the Executive Director of LINC, a Center for Independent Living in Boise, Idaho. Buckland graduated from Boise State University with a B.A. in social work and he graduated summa cum laude from Drake University with a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. In recent years, Buckland has been honored with numerous state and national awards, including the University of Idaho President's Medallion, the United Vision for Idaho Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hewlett-Packard Distinguished Achievement in Human Rights Award, and induction into the National Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame. Spark Your Flame

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE CEUs Seeking to earn Credit Education Units for your professional development? Attend qualifying one-hour sessions, complete the surveys, and take them to the Registration Desk on Monday and Tuesday after sessions end for the day. Wearing your name badge will make the process quicker.

Sunday, March 1, 2015 2:30 p.m.

FIRE Conference begins!

2:30-5:00 p.m.

Welcome and General Session I General Session I: Sandra Breitengross Bitter, Julie Espinoza, Shaun Bickley, Jessica Ramos, Bob Kafka, Susan Murphree, Chris Masey Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Come listen to a diverse group of panelists made up of disability advocates who represent a broad range of issues. Panelists will showcase the differing styles and faces of advocacy and discuss the methods and strategies that they have used to be successful in communicating their issues. You may be surprised about how diverse advocacy can be! Location: Lone Star Ballroom, main stage

6:30-9:30 p.m.

Evening Reception with Appetizers Constellation Prize performs!

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Monday, March 2, 2015 6:45-8:15 a.m.

8:30-9:30 a.m.

9:30-9:45 a.m.

9:45-10:45 a.m.

Networking Breakfast in Limestone Restaurant Welcome and General Session II General Session II: Welcome and Raffle Veronda L. Durden, Kelly Buckland Location: Lone Star Ballroom, main stage Break and Exhibits First Breakout Sessions Breakout: Suzanne Potts, Rene Lopez, Judith Sokolow Keeping the Faith through Self Advocacy Participants will hear the inspirational stories of faith and inclusion from self-advocates and be given resources, best practices, and tools to successfully engage with the faith communities. Participants will also discuss barriers to participation and solutions to addressing them in a positive, supportive way. A self-advocacy model and person-centered planning techniques for full community inclusion will be shared as part of this session. Location: Lone Star Ballroom A

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” — Malcolm Forbes

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Breakout: Sandy Lavon Sullivan, Robyn Leland If We Build It, Will MCOs Come? This is a session on preparing for continued expansion of the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) into managed care in 2017. Independent Living Centers (ILCs) can begin to think about how managed care organizations will interact with them – and how they can prepare for that. This session will cover (A) building clinical and care models that Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) want in their provider networks; (B) rates and contract negotiations; and (C) preparations for how to credential and bill for the services. Location: Lone Star Ballroom B

9:45-10:45 a.m.

Breakout: Leah Beltran, Tim Evans, John Meinkowsky Transportation Can Work for You! Getting Around So You Can Live Your Life This session will discuss the different resources that can be utilized in regard to transportation for people with disabilities. We will discuss our program and how it operates. Location: Lone Star Ballroom C

9:45-10:45 a.m.

Breakout: Trish Speight Information Access for All Texans The role of audio information services is changing, and this session will provide an opportunity for participants to share their needs and frustrations, as well as successes with current technology. Trish Speight will discuss audio resources such as pod casting, streaming, and custom recordings for those with low vision, blindness and physical disabilities. She will also present national trends in technology, products, websites and services, with Texas-specific information. Location: Pecan A&B

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 10:45-11:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

Break and Exhibits Second Breakout Sessions Breakout: Robin Chandler Help America Vote: Your Vote Matters This session will discuss how voting impacts your life, how the Help America Vote Act protects citizens with disabilities, how to register and cast a ballot, and will demonstrate how the accessible voting machines are used in Texas. Location: Lone Star Ballroom A Breakout: Rodrick Robinson, Richard Hopkins Empowering Your Life of Independence Many of us have heard about Assistive Technology. However, many individuals are unaware that there is financial assistance through State and Federal resources. By gaining this knowledge, individuals with disabilities are able to build a connection that provides support throughout the journey toward independence. Location: Lone Star Ballroom B

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

Breakout: Martin Kareithi Building Cooperative Relationships with the Disability Community in Transit: Solutions and Challenges Do you ever feel as though you are uninformed about local transportation options or don’t know how or where to advocate for what you want? Transportation involves a lot of moving parts, and familiarizing yourself with the dynamics in your community is important for building lasting and cooperative relationships with local transit providers. This session will help you navigate the bureaucracy to identify decision-making authority and jurisdiction, and to think about long- and short-term needs so you can build reciprocal communication and continued community involvement. Location: Pecan A&B

12:15-2:15 p.m.

Awards Luncheon and General Session III Networking Luncheon, SILC Awards and General Session Note: The first 30 minutes of this luncheon is dedicated to networking with speakers and sponsors. General Session III: Sensitivity and Disability Awareness Training: Common Disabilities within the Workplace Mary J. Saenz, MS, C.R.C, Rebecca G. Soto, Bryan Baldwin Most people want to show respect and sensitivity to those with disabilities, but more often than not, they simply don’t know how. Given the range of disabilities, and the millions of people who are affected by them, there is so much to know that it can seem overwhelming. But perhaps it is harder than it has to be. Location: Lone Star Ballroom main stage

2:15-2:30 p.m.

Break and Exhibits

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 2:30-3:30 p.m.

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Third Breakout Sessions Breakout: Belinda Carlton, Dennis Borel Guardianship: It's Time for Change Guardianship and capacity issues are a rapidly moving target. Too many Texans with disabilities are being unnecessarily put into guardianship and denied future independence. The ad hoc cross-disability and cross-age Guardianship Reform and Supported Decision-Making workgroup is working to advance rights for people already under guardianship and prevent people from losing their civil rights by being placed into guardianship. Find out about the judicial and educational challenges, and litigation and legislative opportunities to advance guardianship reforms and supported decision-making. Location: Lone Star Ballroom A Breakout: Dr. Jackie Pacha, Michelle Crain, Luis Enrique Chew, Jose Martinez, Kelle' Martin Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! In year three of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities’-funded health and fitness project, Getting Fit to Live, Work and Play!, the Texas State Independent Living Council, in collaboration with its CIL partners Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living; Life, Inc. Center for Independent Living; and Volar Center for Independent Living, have developed programs that empower members of the community to activate a healthy lifestyle. What that looks like is dependent upon each individual consumer. Come listen to the program’s CIL directors as they highlight their diverse programs and reveal to you just how this pilot project has shaped itself three years in. Location: Lone Star Ballroom B

“Truth is like a torch, the more 'tis shook, it shines.” —Sir William Hamilton Spark Your Flame

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Breakout: Lee Lentz-Edwards, Angie Bramley, Tracie Gaytan, Robin Phares Access in Education Part I: Tracie Gaytan and Robin Phares will discuss how classroom diversity is increasing and how the need to make changes to the curriculum and instruction is ever apparent. Attendees will learn about the five Ws and one H of Differentiated Instruction. Part II: We will learn about The Legal Framework, a project that partners the TEA and Region 18 Educational Service Center to provide state and federal legislation, rules, and publications for educators, parents, and advocates for children and public school students with disabilities. Lee Lentz-Edwards and Angie Bramley will lead participants through a website tour, and walk through publications, frameworks, resources, glossary, and special education updates. Transition laws, rules, and requirements will be featured in this session. Location: Lone Star Ballroom C

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Breakout: Jim Durham Oh No... The Building Inspector is in a Wheel Chair! How New Buildings Must Comply with the ADA Rules This presentation simulates a new construction inspection for Texas Accessibility Standards from the inspector’s point of view. What are the key compliance issues that must be met? The presentation reviews what a Registered Accessibility Specialist would do to perform an inspection for TDLR. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Location: Pecan A&B

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Monday, March 2, 2015 (cont.) 4:00-5:00 p.m.

General Session IV and raffle General Session IV: Gary Jessee STAR+PLUS 101 STAR+PLUS is a statewide Medicaid program for people with disabilities designed to integrate the delivery of acute care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) through a managed care system. The presentation will go over the basics of the program including background, basics of managed care, eligibility, services, and recent and upcoming initiatives. Location: Lone Star Ballroom main stage

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 8:30-10:00 a.m.

General Session V and Closing General Session V: Kelly Buckland Impact of Reauthorization on Independent Living & Funding An overview and discussion on the changes made as part of the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This workshop will highlight key changes to Independent Living and an overview of the regulatory process and creation of the Independent Living Administration. Location: Lone Star Ballroom main stage

10:00-10:30 a.m.

Break, CEUs, and collect bag lunches to take to ADA25 Legacy event.

10:30 a.m.

Shuttles depart for ADA25 Legacy Bus event at the Bob Bullock Museum downtown and for individual visits with legislators.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (cont.) 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

ADA25 Legacy celebration

1:00-1:30 p.m.

Shuttles depart museum for individual visits to speak with legislators at the Capitol.

Play Exhibitor BINGO, Win a Prize! Included in your bag is an EXHIBITOR BLACKOUT BINGO CARD. Present the card to each exhibitor for them to initial their square. Return the completed card to the Registration Desk by 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 2nd to win a prize! You must be present during the General Session on Tuesday, March 3rd to win!

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SPEAKERS FIRE speakers come from a variety of backgrounds. Many have disabilities or have family members with disabilities. They will share resources and contacts so that you can increase your independence or provide information to others. Bryan Baldwin ● Sensitivity and Disability Awareness Training: Common Disabilities within the Workplace Bryan Baldwin worked at the San Antonio Lighthouse from 1985 to 1997 as an Assistive Technology trainer and evaluator. From 1997 to 2002, he was self-employed as an assistive technology trainer. From 2002 to the present, he has worked for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Division for Blind Services as an Employment Assistance Specialist. Leah Beltran ● Transportation Can Work For You! Getting Around So You Can Live Your Life Leah Beltran has been working with people who have disabilities for over 20 years. She began working with direct care in various group homes, became a home manager and then completed her education to become a group home administrator. Also, Beltran is the parent of a child with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It has been a natural progression in her career to move over to a philosophy of independent living. Shaun Bickley ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Shaun Bickley has autism and works as the Self-Advocate Coordinator for Texas Advocates. Texas Advocates is an advocacy organization run by and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In this position, he trains people with I/DD around the state and represents Texas Advocates' policy positions. He is a graduate of the Midwest Academy's 2012 Organizing for Social Change training in Chicago and has been doing community organizing since 2008. He serves on the state's Employment First Task Force.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a FIRE to be kindled.” —Plutarch

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Sandra Breitengross Bitter ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Sandra Breitengross Bitter is the Project Analyst for the State Plan for Independent Living Development. She is tasked with developing and monitoring outcomes for the State Plan for Independent Living, a federallymandated plan to improve and identify independent living services and priorities of consumers, providers, and other stakeholders. Before joining the Texas SILC in October 2012, she was a Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. As a legislative staffer on Capitol Hill for over eight years, Breitengross Bitter specialized in transportation and infrastructure policy. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from California Baptist University. Dennis Borel ● Guardianship: It’s Time for Change Dennis Borel, Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, is frequently called on for research, policy analysis and recommendations to the Texas Legislature and state agencies on issues involving disabilities. His service on advisory groups includes an appointment by Texas Health & Human Services’ Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins to the Promoting Independence Advisory Council and by Former Governor Rick Perry to the State Independent Living Council. He has successfully advocated for positive change in government policy and practice in employment, transportation, housing, health care, and removing architectural barriers to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in community life. Angie Bramley ● Access in Education Angie Bramley has served as the Legal Research Specialist for the Legal Framework project since 2007. She works with the team to research and update the Legal Framework website and products. Her background includes 25+ years of experience in the fields of family, criminal, corporate and educational law. Kelly Buckland ● Impact of Reauthorization on Independent Living & Funding (See Keynote section

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Belinda Carlton ● Guardianship: It’s Time for Change As a Public Policy Specialist for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, Belinda Carlton performs professional public policy and legislative advocacy activities consistent with the goals, priorities, and principles of the Council. She identifies and analyzes key public policy issues such as guardianship that affect people with developmental disabilities. Robin Chandler ● Help America Vote: Your Vote Matters Robin Chandler has been a Voting Rights Policy Specialist at Disability Rights Texas since 2012. Chandler received a Bachelor’s of Social Work in 1998. Soon after, she worked as the lead Legislative Aide over health and human services for Texas State Representative Glen Maxey. When Rep. Maxey retired, she stayed on with his successor, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, as his Legislative Director until the end of 2010. During her years at the Capitol, Chandler worked primarily on health and human services, with a special policy focus on disability issues, foster care, access to health care, and hunger and nutrition. She also acquired a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Texas.

Luis Enrique Chew ● Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! Since 1998, Luis Enrique Chew has been the Executive Director of Volar Center for Independent Living, a private not-for-profit organization that advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities. He earned a Business Administration degree in Management from the University of Texas at El Paso. Chew has served on several state boards, including the Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living, the Texas State Independent Living Council, the Coalition of Texas with Disabilities, and Fundación Juárez Integra in Ciudad Juárez. Chew received the Minority Business Advocate of the year award from the Hispanic and the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce; and the Community Member Diamond Amigo Award from the UTEP Center for Accommodations and Supports Services.

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Michelle Crain ● Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! Michelle Crain attended West Texas A&M University, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology and a master’s degree in Psychology. She has been the Executive Director of LIFE, Inc. for over 14 years. Within the last six years, she has established new Centers for Independent Living in Abilene and San Angelo, Texas. Under her directorship, LIFE has enhanced its IL program through numerous service projects - most notably through housing, Social Security advocacy, interpreting services for the deaf, nursing home transition, and health and fitness. LIFE has partnered with the Texas State Independent Living Council to administer the Center’s “Gettin’ Fit & Lovin’ It” initiative. Veronda L. Durden ● DARS Update (See Keynote section) Jim Durham ● Oh No... The Building Inspector is in a Wheelchair! How New Buildings Must Comply with the ADA Rules Jim Durham has been a Registered Accessibility Specialist for 14 years, helping to ensure that commercial buildings meet all standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He currently serves as Board President for Heart of Central Texas Independent Living Center, a nonprofit advocacy and training organization for persons with disabilities. Lee Lentz-Edwards ● Access in Education Lee Lentz-Edwards (B.B.A., M.Ed., M.B.A.) is the state lead for the Legal Framework project. She has served as a member of the Statewide Leadership Team for the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process in Texas since 2005. She works with the team to research, construct, and edit the Legal Framework and its website, as well as presenting information about it across the state.

“A spark is something that gives your life meaning and purpose. It’s an interest, a passion, or a gift.” —Dr. Peter Benson Spark Your Flame

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Julie Espinoza ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Julie Espinoza has been involved in the Disability Rights Movement and the Independent Living Movement for 26 years, working at the Dallas Center for Independent Living and both the REACH of Dallas and REACH of Plano CIL offices. Espinoza has assisted hundreds of people with disabilities to take charge, create change and lead onward into the community as strong self-advocates who are of value and purpose with Disability Pride. In her personal time, she enjoys being a Grandma and reading biographies and Civil Rights history. She hopes to network with awesome TXSILC statewide attendees at the 2015 Conference! Tim Evans ● Transportation Can Work For You! Getting Around So You Can Live Your Life Tim Evans has been the Director of Programs at Disability in Action since October of 2013. He also acts as the Transportation Specialist for the Transportation Works Program at Disability in Action. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management, and is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force. Evans was born in North Carolina, but moved to Abilene, Texas in 1990, and now calls Abilene home. Tracie Gaytan ● Access in Education Tracie Gaytan, M.Ed., has worked in education for 15 years. She has taught 5th and 6th grade Special Education, Life Skills, and Inclusion. She is currently a Director of Special Education. Gaytan has a degree in general studies, with minors in Psychology and Sociology. She has two master's degrees and is currently working on a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. Richard Hopkins ● Empowering Your Life of Independence Richard Hopkins is the Program Specialist for Assistive Technology, Vehicle Modifications and Home and Job Site Modifications at the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. He has worked in the field of Human Services for more than 34 years. Hopkins relocated to Texas in the late 70s and continued his career as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Disability Examiner, Regional Program Specialist, and Director of Programs with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission, the legacy agency of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

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Gary Jessee ● STAR+PLUS 101 Gary Jessee is the Deputy Director for Program Operations in the Medicaid/CHIP Division at the Health and Human Services Commission. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing acute, dental, and long-term services and supports delivered across the state through Managed Care Organizations. Bob Kafka ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Bob Kafka graduated from the University of Houston with a BBA in Economics, and earned his M.Ed. in Special Education. The Vietnam veteran is a former president of Houston's Coalition for Barrier Free Living (CBFL). During his presidency, the group started one of the first Independent Living Centers in America: Houston Center for Independent Living. Kafka was instrumental in the design, passage and implementation of the $1.75 billion Money Follows the Person Demonstration that is getting individuals out of institutions and back into their communities. Kafka’s goal now is to FREE OUR PEOPLE! by implementing the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision as well as to ensure passage of the Community Choice Act. Martin Kareithi ● Building Cooperative Relationships with the Disability Community in Transit: Solutions and Challenges Martin Kareithi is the Accessible Transportation Specialist for Capital Metro, where he oversees compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensures accessibility across numerous agency divisions, including operations, communications, information technology, and planning. He is the agency’s community liaison for disabilities. Robyn Leland ● If We Build It, Will MCO's Come? Robyn Leland is the Vice President of network operations and provider relations for Cigna-HealthSpring’s Texas Medicaid programs. She has over 20 years’ background in provider contracting, provider relations, and physician practice management. Leland has managed capitated IPA networks for primary care, behavioral health, ophthalmology, and other specialties, and has developed and managed extensive provider networks for Medicare and Medicaid products. She has also marketed provider networks to insurers and other payers. Leland is a native Texan and makes her home in Dallas.

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Renee Lopez ● Keeping the Faith through Self Advocacy Renee Lopez, a person with a physical disability, is an active member of the disabled community and spends her time advocating for disability rights through public speaking and education. She is an advisor on several boards dealing with disability issues, including Austin Interfaith Inclusion Network, SafePlace's Disability Advisory Board, and VSA Arts. Kelle’ Martin ● Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! Kelle' Martin graduated from the University of Texas, where he majored in English Literature and Women's and Gender Studies. Martin is the Texas State Independent Living Council's Health & Fitness, Transportation Works, and Transportation Works Assess and Deliver Projects’ Specialist. After exploring social justice issues as an undergrad, he was inspired to pursue a master's in Macro Social Work with a concentration in political social work that he wants to use to empower and advocate for members of the community. In his spare time, he volunteers with organizations such as allgo, and Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. Jose Martinez ● Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! Jose Martinez has been the Health and Fitness Coordinator of Volar Center for Independent Living in El Paso, Texas since 2013. He has provided Independent Living services for a year, encouraging and motivating persons with disabilities to acquire their health and fitness goals. He earned an Associate’s in Criminal Justice from El Paso Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Texas El Paso. He was awarded Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 by the West Texas Community Supervision Department. Chris Masey ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Chris Masey is the Developmental Disability Policy Fellow at the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. Masey recently obtained a master’s degree in business with a concentration on strategic planning and nonprofit management. He is the parent of a child with a disability, and has been active with a variety of organizations that provide support and services to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Masey’s research and advocacy interests focus on issues relevant to people with developmental disabilities, such as employment, early childhood intervention, support services, and promoting choice and independence.

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John R. Meinkowsky ● Transportation Can Work For You! Getting Around So You Can Live Your Life John R. Meinkowsky, M.Ed., has been the Policy Advocate for ARCIL, Inc. since 1991. He has developed and implemented new programs in emergency planning, employment, transportation, and criminal justice. He also coordinates ARCIL’s systems advocacy activities and serves as liaison to state agencies, policy groups and allies. Other responsibilities include developing educational materials, curricula, and manuals, and conducting independent living skills classes and peer support activities. Susan Murphree ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Susan Murphree serves as Senior Policy Services Specialist at Disability Rights Texas, with responsibility for advocating for public policies and funding that ensure individuals’ rights to services in the most integrated setting. She has in-depth knowledge of community-based and institutional programs that provide long-term supports and services for individuals of all ages. Murphree has a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Jackie Pacha ● Getting Fit to Live, Work, & Play! Dr. Jackie Pacha is the founding executive director for the newest Center for Independent Living in Texas, BVCIL, located near the home of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has over 20 years’ experience working with people who have disabilities as a Sign Language Interpreter, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and Special Education Teacher and Administrator. Pacha has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M, and is a certified rehabilitation counselor. Robin Phares ● Access in Education Robin Phares has been an educator for the past 29 years, working with the A+ Academies Charter Schools for the last 15 years. She is trained in the Multisensory Teaching Approach for students with Dyslexia, and Lindamood-Bell reading programs. In the past nine years, she has seen students with reading differences go from 0% passing on the state test to 94% passing with 10% getting Commended Performance. She is a mother of four, one of whom has a learning difference. Her son went from taking the SDAA test to getting commended performance on both the Reading and Math regular TAKS before he graduated. Phares currently serves as the 504/Dyslexia Coordinator at A+ Academy in Dallas.

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Suzanne Potts ● Keeping the Faith through Self Advocacy Suzanne Potts, LMSW, MPH, convenes the Austin Interfaith Inclusion Network in Central Texas, which includes faith leaders and disability advocates who strive for full inclusion in faith communities. She is also a mother to two boys, one with special needs, and has become a strong advocate for inclusion and disability rights. Jessica Ramos ● Exploring the Multiple Sides of Advocacy Jessica Ramos is the Public Policy Director for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD). She is responsible for monitoring state and federal policy along with legislative affairs for the TCDD and coordinating public policy advocacy activities on TCDD’s behalf. The Council’s mission is to create change so that all people with disabilities are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Ramos has a MSSW in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Rodrick Robinson ● Empowering Your Life of Independence Rodrick Robinson's dynamic presentation style captures the audience’s attention and incorporates a captivating tone that encourages the audience to participate. Richard Hopkins will be co-presenting and there is no better duo that can provide an audience with valuable information. It’s essential for people with different abilities to learn how to develop their own career to become stable in their own independence. Mary J. Saenz, MS, C.R.C.● Sensitivity and Disability Awareness Training: Common Disabilities within the Workplace Regional Business Relations Specialist Mary Saenz has effectively served people with disabilities statewide for over 24 years. Having held four key positions within the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Saenz has assisted people with disabilities to meet their vocational and independent living goals, while earning the respect and trust of colleagues in the rehabilitation and business communities. Saenz has a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Counseling, and is a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a Job Placement Specialist. She originated the Coastal Bend “Walk ‘n Roll” Celebration, which won the 2009 Martha Arbuckle Award. In 2014, she represented the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority at the Ohio APTA Board Conference, presenting "Strategies to Welcome Riders with Disabilities to Fixed-Route Services.”

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Judith Sokolow ● Keeping the Faith through Self Advocacy Judith Sokolow, MSW, LCSW, is retired, but working part time with the Austin Interfaith Inclusion Network (AIIN), funded through a grant from TCDD and administered by OneStar Foundation. Sokolow was in the social work field for over 40 years doing psychotherapy and counseling, case management, training, administration, and advocacy. She has worked with aging, disability, and inclusion issues throughout her career. Rebecca Soto ● Sensitivity and Disability Awareness Training: Common Disabilities within the Workplace Rebecca Soto completed her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University, and a master's in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Texas in Denton. Soto worked with the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services for 28 years as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and held various leadership and management positions. Currently, Soto is a Senior Recruiter for MAXIMUS, specializing in the recruitment, hiring, and retention of persons with disabilities, including veterans. Trish Speight ● Information Access for All Texans Trish Speight has been the Executive Director of the Recording Library of West Texas, located in Midland, Texas, since 2006. She worked as a volunteer reader from 2000-2005. Speight has been a member of the IAAIS Board of Directors for the last three years and is the current Education Committee Chair. Sandy Lavon Sullivan ● If We Build It, Will MCOs Come? Sandy Sullivan, RN, is the Vice President of Health Services for CignaHealthSpring STAR+PLUS, and is a Certified Case Manager. She has been involved for the past 15 years in the STAR+PLUS program, and part of each STAR+PLUS expansion in Texas. Sullivan’s deep passion about STAR+PLUS is colored by the fact she was the primary caregiver for over 14 years to two dearly loved relatives, one who was in STAR+PLUS, one who was in Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS). She knows how important it is to partner with the providers who deliver quality services you need.

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SPONSORS

Campfire

Lantern Flame

Spark FIRE Conference Sponsors

bring light to the world with their generosity! Our Sponsors demonstrate care and concern about issues that matter to the Independent Living network, and many share products and/or services that provide greater access and inclusion. During the Networking Luncheon on Monday, March 2nd, Sponsors will share about their current projects and programs that help people achieve greater independence. Take the time to thank them for their contributions, which have allowed us to keep FIRE Conference prices lower!

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EXHIBITORS AND DONORS

EXHIBITORS

SignShares Ɵ Amerigroup Texas Department of Transportation Cigna-HealthSpring Ɵ UnitedHealthcare Sam’s Club Ɵ United Access (Austin Mobility) Advanced Mobility Ɵ DARS Hill Country Orthotics and Prosthetics New Life Medical Equipment Austin Tenants' Council Ɵ MED-EL Corporation Texas Talking Book Program Advanced Bionics Ɵ CaptionCall Primal7 Ɵ Martin Mobility National Federation of the Blind of Texas Newsline Relay Texas Ɵ HIMS Inc. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs LeFleur Transportation Ɵ Cirkiel & Associates Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CapTel Captioned Telephone

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DONORS

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VOLUNTEERS

The Texas SILC thanks its Leadership & Advocacy Committee, or PAC, for their dedication for helping to plan several conferences, including the 2015 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference FIRE. Marshall Burns, Lorri Hill, Casey Hertel, Marshall Mitchell, Olachi Ezeh, Henry Palacios, Crystal Garcia, and Juan Ramirez

We also thank Volunteers: Chris Cortes, Linda Levine, Lynn Cowick, Michael Milford, Devan Gartman, Sue Ornelas, and Sandra Spyker for their dedication to conference planning. Thanks to Gerald Goebel, Jay Davis, Charm Cowart for their service for others.

And we’d like to thank: Marriott South staff, especially Crystie Collora and Ashley Mayyou, for conference planning for greater access. We hope we haven’t forgotten anyone. We are thankful for all of you!

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Helen Keller

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SPONSORS

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The Texas SILC thanks United Access for their assistance with shuttles to the ADA25 Legacy event!

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My name is Dennis Goehring, and I have been a practicing dentist in Southwest Austin for over 18 years. I treat a large number of patients with cognitive disabilities, patients who are medically compromised, and patients with phobias. I use a variety of methods to treat patient populations, and my office and staff are equipped and trained to provide specialized care for patients. Many dentists and their staffs find it difficult or are uncomfortable treating some populations due to the patients’ lack of cooperative behavior and cognitive ability. These issues in combination with the many health issues of some patient populations increase the risks associated with providing dental care. My goal is to inform you and other dentists and physicians in the area that I welcome referrals of such patients and hope you will consider my practice when referring. The majority of patients with cognitive disabilities or phobias require IV sedation/deep sedation, which is a service available in my office. We are very efficient at providing the best dental care possible while maintaining a conservative approach focusing on disease control. This is a passion of mine and it is the way that I try to contribute to what is hopefully a betterment of our society. If you ever need a second opinion or just another pair of eyes to review a case as it relates to dentistry, I would be happy to help in any way I can. In closing, I thank you for taking the time to read this letter and hope it finds you doing well. I also hope you would consider Goehring Dental for your referrals of patients with mental, physical, and medical challenges that are in need of dental care. Spark Your Flame

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UnitedHealthcare

"The sky knows when it's time to snow Don't need to teach a seed to grow It's just another ordinary miracle today Life is like a gift they say Wrapped up for you everyday Open up and find a way To give some of your own� Sarah McLachlan in Ordinary Miracle

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“I want one moment in time When I'm more than I thought I could be; When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away, And the answers are all up to me. . .” —As sung by Whitney Houston, in One Moment in Time

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Texas State Independent Living Council 4319 James Casey Street, Suite 100 Austin, Texas 78745 512-371-7353 Voice your opinion about accessible transportation by taking the survey below and share the following links: English version – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TxSILC_TransportSurvey Spanish version – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TW-Spanish

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